Opening with “Intro / Chi Chi,” Chaz Bear is not entirely present as the brightly shining vocal and instrumental self-ensemble. Instead, the introduction is the opening of the eyes in the summer morning. It is the ability to create with a symphony of being at your infinite disposal. The warming synths and light hums are calming, but give inspiration to the body as a way to lightly shuffle through sound.
When “New Beat” arrives, Bear pushes Underneath The Pine into the nostalgic 70s calling card for his synth work and structure of the track but has a modern flair even 10 years later. He is gentle with the audience, seemingly incapable of harming even a fly at this level; continuing with prowess on the formation to sound.
Less activity is featured on the track “Divina” which captures neon light in a closed diorama. Observing slight details like the piano keys which resemble the trees of a forest, outstretched for the entire track but never becoming something to focus the eyes directly on. Toro Y Moi as an artist is a master seamster throughout their career but especially on Underneath The Pine.
They can accurately weave layers upon layers to be more stylized as an instrumental mix of soft, chill atmospheric hip-hop and the border of new-age funk. Somewhere in the in-between, Toro Y Moi adapts to the audience and plays off of more emotion than any setlist. The psychedelic elements of tracks like “Before I’m Done” are some of the groundwork that appears in later albums from Toro Y Moi.
Each track on Underneath The Pine can be later established as a precursor to some of Bear’s following work. Especially on “Got Blinded” which is not just appealing for the use of these falsetto vocals of higher pitch, giving a Beach Boys method of vibration to the track. There is this instrumental that articulates itself as simple, but in reality, hits all the serotonin deposits of the brain.
“Got Blinded” in particular is worthy to highlight for its manipulative power within Underneath The Pine. From the start to the finish of the album, the midpoint are some of the brightest and most cheerful of Toro Y Moi’s career.
Whether bouncing from the streets of San Francisco or speeding through the ambiance of a darkened city, Toro Y Moi spawns luminescence anywhere he goes. Underneath The Pine is well graphed, exciting at every turn, and is a perfect 11 track meal plan for a summer night.